Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: February 24th, 2018
We’ve been bracing ourselves for when Western political pressure groups would get serious about trying to force anime to conform. For some time now, attempts to tamper with the Japanese animated, movie, video game and comic industries have been consistent and blatant but not aggressive or concentrated. Those times are swiftly coming to an end in part due to the rising global popularity of anime. I made an article warning about this and it seems the first signs are finally showing.
Video games have been an easy target for some time now especially with how much exposure to mainstream some of them get but after a rather puritanical and unsavory period where more Christian, nationalistic values ruled America and demanded censorship, we had managed to finally make gains in uncensored games and the people’s fight to have the right to choose which games they want to play and how they want to play them without the interference of a know-it-all, authoritarian third party was finally coming about. Sadly, this was not to last. Blatant attempts, and successes, at censoring foreign games over the last decade have once again come to plague us and this time wrapped under the guise of political correctness and the progressive agenda. Those attempts are getting fiercer now as was the case with the recent effort to unsuccessfully and preemptively have Ivy censored for the upcoming Soul Calibur VI game, the lack of localization for Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, attempts to get breast-sizes reduced in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, accusations of queerbaiting and misogyny in Night of Azure 2… This is only going to get worse as time moves on especially with how emboldened progressive political pressure groups have become thanks to #metoo.
Image Source: Play-Asia
The Xenoblade Chronicles 2 backlash was especially disgusting to behold in that it focused on slut-shaming women with large breasts and carried indirect and direct implications that large breasts, in and of themselves, are misogynistic; all of which puts the modern incarnation of the “progressive movement” on par with the same level of slut-shaming and body-based oppression the most fanatical elements of religions and conservative groups are known for and sounds rather counter-productive to “empowering women”.
Image Source: Taken from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Gameplay
As for anime, recent efforts include a media push by more mainstream Western geek outlets to try and change the medium. One of the more aggressive and disconcerting piece is an attempt to encourage a #metoo like witch-hunt in the industry from Anime Feminist. The article makes the case that creators who have been accused of “sexual misconduct”, such as Toriko creator Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, should be prevented from ever working in the industry again, even after they have served their time. Yes, apparently you are no longer allowed a second chance after properly serving out your legal sentence and should be branded for life, Dark Ages style. Lets forget for a moment that such a move helps create criminals and deviancy by removing one’s ability to operate in the legal world (Not being allowed to work) and by removing the only incentive not to do it again (If you’ve already lost everything you could lose, you have no incentive to stop any longer), it also suggests that the extra judicial, mob attacks that the #metoo movement started (Which involves destroying careers with mere unsupported accusations without investigation) should now be applied to alter the course of the Japanese geek industry. Of course the article ends with the suggestion that Nobuhiro Watsuki, the recently disgraced Rurouni Kenshin creator that was caught with child pornography (Bare in mind the nature of the content was never revealed, he might very well have only been in possession of those tasteless idol books that were still legal until 2014), should be the first target of this new “change”.
Image Source: Screenshot from Anime Feminist
If you thought it ended with manga creators who did do something to warrant criticism, you were wrong. My Hero Academia has been attacked as well. No, its creator didn’t do something lecherous; far worse: The female characters are sexy!!! Yes, that is one of the many complaints that were recently levied against the series as proof of its “sexist” shonen roots. Alongside were also complaints of the girls not getting enough recognition or not being powerful enough. Outside of more complaints on fanservice or the girls’ role in the series, the very way the female cast interacts with each other was also criticized as “reinforcing harmful ideas about women” (Girls all need to get along or else it means there’s some sort of sexist agenda, apparently). The series’ humor was also criticized as sexist and the article ends on the note that simply giving more screen time to the female cast wouldn’t help, since it “wouldn’t change the problems the series has with its female cast”.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting characters you appreciate to get more screen time, and in all fairness girls do get too little screen time in a lot of shonen, there is something wrong with wanting to fundamentally redesign the series and the way it deals with its characters as well as how the show itself is presented. Anime aimed at men, aimed at women and aimed at both are currently being made but some people simply cannot accept a series that is not made to cater to them and will seek to actually change it rather than simply not watch it.
Image Source: My Hero Academia Series
Image Source: Screenshot from Kotaku
These are but the beginning though. I talk about it with such fervor now because I do not want this issue to evolve to the point it has in the Western video game and comic industries and hope to help bring some reason to the issue; I encourage everyone who has an opinion on the topic, one way or the other, to also speak up and write their own pieces. The more anime becomes mainstream the more this will intensify. And the more American corporations gain influence over this foreign market, the more American cultural interests will be served. As I said before, sexual abuse is serious and should be dealt with seriously but there is a difference between that and the politically correct, cultural agenda and extra-judicial #metoo campaign. Keep an eye on the media going forward, the political and social pressure campaign to take anime away from its actual fans to a non-interested, but politically motivated group has only just begun.